During his campaign last year, President Obama promised the disability community that if elected, he would work for prompt passage of the Community Choice Act. This legislation would reform Medicaid to end the current institutional bias and increase access to community-based services and supports. It would provide those in institutions and nursing homes the option to receive community-based services, allowing them to leave the institutions and to live empowered lives within the community, and would address the problem of extremely long waiting lists by providing guaranteed access to a community-based benefit within the Medicaid system.
Instead of working to accomplish prompt passage of the Community Choice Act, however, the Obama administration has indicated that it wants to address health care reform first. This is unacceptable to disability rights advocacy groups such as ADAPT, which protested in Washington on Monday regarding President Obama's failure to keep his campaign promise to take action quickly on this important issue.
There are many people with disabilities who have been on waiting lists for community-based services for years, and in some cases decades. Some people ended up waiting so long that they died in institutions. This is not just another political issue that can be pushed aside, depending on how the winds blow. It is a matter of basic human rights and needs to be treated as such. Write to the President and your members of Congress to make it clear where you stand. For Change.org members, there are two actions currently available for sending e-mails: you can find them here and here.